I, robot – Can you translate without understanding the meaning?


You’ll have read it all over the place by now: machine translation (MT) and generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) work by identifying patterns and reproducing them. They don’t really understand language. They just replace tokens (words or subwords) with numeric vectors, perform various arithmetic operations on them and calculate probabilities at an amazing speed.

Published in

ITI Bulletin, May-June 2024


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Michael Farrell is primarily a freelance translator and transcreator. Over the years he has acquired experience in the cultural tourism field and in transcreating advertising copy and press releases, chiefly for the promotion of technology products. Besides this, he is also an untenured lecturer in post-editing, machine translation and computer tools for translators at the International University of Languages and Media (IULM), Milan, Italy, the developer of the terminology search tool IntelliWebSearch, a qualified member of the Italian Association of Translators and Interpreters (AITI) and a member of Mediterranean Editors and Translators.